Declan Kelly returns in this sequel to the Children's Books Ireland Book of the Year Taking Flight (2014).
Desolate when his cousin's horse, Flight, is sold, 18-year-old Declan jumps at a chance to take a job in a top German showjumping yard. He's somewhat sorry to leave his girlfriend, Seaneen, behind but not at all reluctant to leave behind his recovering-alcoholic mother and his hardscrabble life in West Belfast council housing. Before Declan can do more than apply for a passport, Seaneen turns up pregnant. Declan gives up his chance, determined, with his head if not his heart, to do the right thing. His life, however, has never given him a clear picture of the right thing, and Seaneen grows increasingly impatient with his emotional distance. Meanwhile, Declan rescues an abandoned, badly abused mare, which gives him the perfect excuse to spend more time at the barn. A neighbor boy, Cian, reminds him of himself in his struggling pre-riding days. Declan can't fix Cian, but he tries unsuccessfully to get the boy's mother to intervene. When events come to a horrifying climax, Declan begins to understand the sort of person he wants to be. Declan's staccato first-person voice vividly conveys his confusion, desires, failures, and decency, sentence length and syntax skillfully modulating according to his mood. Wilkinson portrays complicated situations with nuanced truth and spare elegance.
A talented writer and a fantastic story. (Fiction. 15 & up)